The Reading Meeting: Captivating. Chapter 1.

It is our first Reading Meeting of 2010!

I am so excited to be reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

I am going to highlight some of the chapter points and provide thought-provoking questions via the Guided Journal
to help facilitate dialogue…then participate with my own commentary in the comment section.

Chapter One: The Heart of a Woman

What expectation has  been laid upon you, as a woman?

Think about the women you meet at church. They’re trying to live up to some model of femininity. What do they “teach” you about being a woman? What are they saying to us through their lives?

What have you been taught that a mature, godly woman should look like?

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“I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I’ve ever met feels it–something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and, I am too much, at the same time.”

Have you ever felt that way?

“The result is Shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone. After all, if we were better women–what ever that means–life wouldn’t be so hard. Right?”

Do you believe that?

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Why is it so hard to create meaningful friendships and sustain them? Why do our days seem so unimportant, filled not with romance and adventure but with duties and demands? We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us.”

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Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

Is it a new thought to you that your heart as a woman is the most important thing about you?

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“We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”

“As I (John) described in Wild at Heart, there are three core desires in the heart of every man as well… For starters, every man wants a battle to fight… Men also long for adventure…Finally, every man longs for a beauty to rescue. They really do.”

Have you seen that in the men you know? In your husband, brothers, friends and sons?

“…the desires of a man’s heart and the desires of a woman’s heart were at least meant to fit beautifully together? A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. his pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man, draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero.”

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What did you relate to with this chapter?

What did you not like (if anything) about the ideas in this chapter?

Was there anything presented in this chapter that you are having a hard time believing?

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All commentary {everything and anything} is welcomed! The above questions are just suggestive topic conversations. Don’t feel obligated to answer or expand upon them unless you are so inclined. 😉

It’s not too late to go get the book at join right in! We are just 20 pages into it!

Happy Reading!

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  • Melissa

    I was pretty much hooked at the introduction:

    “The mystery of the feminine heart was meant to be a good thing, by the way. A source of joy. yet it has become a source of shame–women almost universally feel that they are “too much” and “not what they should be.”

    It is so true…there is always such a balancing act between the two. In some situations you feel like you aren’t enough (not a good enough friend, wife, cook, housekeeper…not skinny enough or fashionable enough)… and then at other times you are too much (too emotional, too needy, too inquisitive). I think it is an insecurity battle unique to women, one that is much more rare for a man to dwell on.

    Stemming from the above, I could definitely understand the unseen, unsought and uncertain passages.
    I’ve read through Psalms many times… but somehow completely missed the point of Psalm 45:11… “The King is enthralled by your beauty.” What! I really had to go look that up in my Bible. I thought they may have been twisting the translation or something! haha It kind of makes you rethink how God sees you–HIS beautiful creation. The mere thought of God being “enthralled by my beauty” is beyond my comprehension. It immediately sparks complete denial in me… mostly because the risk of believing it to be true equates (in my twisted thinking) that it also might be conditional… and that is more pressure than I would ever like to consider. Yeah. I should probably work on that. haha

    “And it’s not just the desire for an outward beauty, but more–a desire to be captivating in the depths of who you are.”

    I think this sums up a lot. Yes, it is pretty much undeniable that women love to look and feel beautiful. That is important to us. However, that is not at the core of what I find to be beautiful. I’m glad Stasi addressed both inner and outer beauty. Feeling appreciated for who you are, being recognized for your inner “good” results in a beauty that radiates through you. How many days have you felt beautiful when you are just in a plain bad mood? On the same hand, how many days have you been in a joyous mood when you are having the worst hair day of the century? I think inner and outer go hand in hand for women.

    I really did relate (or at least understand) where much of this chapter was coming from. And I think it is so funny that the author expressed several times how it was embarrassing to admit how much she wanted to be the heroine and to have the hero come rescue her… to be loved enough for someone to fight for her. Isn’t that pretty much what most of our childhood was centered around? How many make believe fairy tale games do little girls play where they are the damsel in distress waiting for the prince to rescue them? I’m pretty sure we all did. But who isn’t embarrassed to admit that? You convince yourself when you get older that you shouldn’t want that. Cynicism sets in. Love like that is not real. We are not really worth the kind of fuss. We tell ourselves all sorts of things to shield ourselves from the fear of disappointment in the event that it never happens…that it really was all make believe. Fear leads many women to polarize themselves to the complete opposite extreme and convince themselves they want anything BUT love. And after all of this convincing we have done to ourselves, we go out and buy our little girls every Disney princess movie imaginable. Who are we fooling?

    Anyway, I think the Eldredges are very insightful and are hitting the nail on the head (at least so far). I’m looking forward to Chapter 2! And hopefully some other commentaries! :)

  • Melissa

    I was pretty much hooked at the introduction:

    “The mystery of the feminine heart was meant to be a good thing, by the way. A source of joy. yet it has become a source of shame–women almost universally feel that they are “too much” and “not what they should be.”

    It is so true…there is always such a balancing act between the two. In some situations you feel like you aren’t enough (not a good enough friend, wife, cook, housekeeper…not skinny enough or fashionable enough)… and then at other times you are too much (too emotional, too needy, too inquisitive). I think it is an insecurity battle unique to women, one that is much more rare for a man to dwell on.

    Stemming from the above, I could definitely understand the unseen, unsought and uncertain passages.
    I’ve read through Psalms many times… but somehow completely missed the point of Psalm 45:11… “The King is enthralled by your beauty.” What! I really had to go look that up in my Bible. I thought they may have been twisting the translation or something! haha It kind of makes you rethink how God sees you–HIS beautiful creation. The mere thought of God being “enthralled by my beauty” is beyond my comprehension. It immediately sparks complete denial in me… mostly because the risk of believing it to be true equates (in my twisted thinking) that it also might be conditional… and that is more pressure than I would ever like to consider. Yeah. I should probably work on that. haha

    “And it’s not just the desire for an outward beauty, but more–a desire to be captivating in the depths of who you are.”

    I think this sums up a lot. Yes, it is pretty much undeniable that women love to look and feel beautiful. That is important to us. However, that is not at the core of what I find to be beautiful. I’m glad Stasi addressed both inner and outer beauty. Feeling appreciated for who you are, being recognized for your inner “good” results in a beauty that radiates through you. How many days have you felt beautiful when you are just in a plain bad mood? On the same hand, how many days have you been in a joyous mood when you are having the worst hair day of the century? I think inner and outer go hand in hand for women.

    I really did relate (or at least understand) where much of this chapter was coming from. And I think it is so funny that the author expressed several times how it was embarrassing to admit how much she wanted to be the heroine and to have the hero come rescue her… to be loved enough for someone to fight for her. Isn’t that pretty much what most of our childhood was centered around? How many make believe fairy tale games do little girls play where they are the damsel in distress waiting for the prince to rescue them? I’m pretty sure we all did. But who isn’t embarrassed to admit that? You convince yourself when you get older that you shouldn’t want that. Cynicism sets in. Love like that is not real. We are not really worth the kind of fuss. We tell ourselves all sorts of things to shield ourselves from the fear of disappointment in the event that it never happens…that it really was all make believe. Fear leads many women to polarize themselves to the complete opposite extreme and convince themselves they want anything BUT love. And after all of this convincing we have done to ourselves, we go out and buy our little girls every Disney princess movie imaginable. Who are we fooling?

    Anyway, I think the Eldredges are very insightful and are hitting the nail on the head (at least so far). I’m looking forward to Chapter 2! And hopefully some other commentaries! :)